Affordable Care Act

Schlafly: Obama Using 'Handouts' To 'Break The Capitalist System'

On her Eagle Forum Live radio program Saturday, Phyllis Schlafly claimed that President Obama’s “communist training by Saul Alinsky” inspired him to try to “break the capitalist system” by giving out government “handouts.”

Schlafly made her remarks in response to a caller who demanded, “I’d like to know how many in our Congress, in our government, are really in truly Americans. I would like to see how many communists we have in there.”

“Well, I’m not ready to call them communists,” Schlafly said, “but of course the training that Obama had when he was a young man was really kind of a communist training by Saul Alinsky in Chicago. And he also had training by these people who think the way to break the capitalist system is to put so many people getting handouts from the government that you simply break it down. And I think that’s what he’s trying to do.”

Schlafly’s guest on the program was conservative radio host and speaker Mason Weaver, author of “It’s OK to Leave the Plantation.”  During the show, Weaver, who is African American, compared a number of government programs he dislikes to slavery, including of course the Affordable Care Act, which he also claimed would intentionally kill people before they can collect retirement savings.

“It’s just slavery, folks,” he said. “I mean, think about it. On the plantation, master gave you minimum wage, master gave you your working hours, master gave you low-income housing, he gave you your food, he gave you retirement. And you worked yourself to death. Obamacare and everything Obama implements is to take control over your life, work you until your work is done, tax you to death, and then allow  you to die peacefully before paying you your retirement.”

He added, oddly, that there was “no demand” for universal health care from voters.

Defining Religious Liberty: Little Sisters' Little Victory

Among the many court cases challenging contraception requirements under the Affordable Care Act, the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor has been, and continues to be, a strange one. The latest wrinkle came on Friday in what SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston calls a “partial win” for the order of nuns.

The Little Sisters, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, appealed to the Supreme Court to prevent the group from having to sign a form documenting its religious objection to providing contraception coverage while its broader challenge to the law moves through the courts. The Tenth Circuit had rejected a similar request.

Under the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious groups, that form would exempt the organization from providing or paying for contraception coverage, and that responsibility would pass to the group’s insurer. In a brief to the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General’s office said that by Becket’s reasoning, a Quaker couldn’t be required to attest to his religious objections before being absolved of military obligations. But Becket insisted that the form acted as a “permission slip” that would trigger contraception coverage, and that would make the nuns complicit.

What makes this argument even stranger is the fact that the Little Sisters’ insurer is classified as a “church plan,” which is exempt from enforcement of the ACA requirement. So whether or not the Little Sisters signed the form, their lay employees would still not have access to coverage.

On Friday, the Supreme Court granted the Little Sisters’ request for an injunction, with a proviso. The group did not have to sign the government’s religious objection form, but it did have to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of its religious objections by letter. The Becket Fund declared victory and announced itself “delighted” by the Court’s compromise.

So, to recap: requiring a religious organization to sign a form opting out of providing contraception coverage is religious tyranny, but requiring a religious organization to send a letter to HHS stating its objections to providing contraception coverage is a victory for religious freedom.

Just wait until the Supreme Court hears the more far-reaching Hobby Lobby case, in which Becket and its client seek to establish the principle that for-profit companies can opt out of laws protecting their employees if those laws conflict with the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners.

 

PFAW Foundation

Tea Party Nation Tells Us That Obamacare is Like Rape

This weekend, Tea Party Nation president Judson Philips emailed to the group’s members an article by TPN writer Darwin Rockantansky that compares the Affordable Care Act to rape.

Rockantansky starts off his article by musing about “Law & Order: SVU” villains who claim that their victims “enjoy” rape. This, he says, is just like Affordable Care Act proponents defending the ACA to their relatives at Thanksgiving dinner. “Their message is truly quite simple,” he writes. “Lie back and quit fighting and eventually you will enjoy the experience.”

He adds: “But I will encourage you to think about your own families and extended families and decide for yourself if there is a point at which this rape experience could possibly become enjoyable;  rape of our free will, rape of our religious convictions, rape of free markets, rape of our Constitution, a brutal rape of the American Dream and personal freedoms.”

There is one particular group of these programs called: “Law And Order: SVU”. And in this series there are a few episodes that I simply cannot watch because they expose the deepest darkest side of human nature and despite their disclaimer that no real persons are reflected, most people recognize that there are far too many real world parallels for comfort.

And in some of these episodes, there are gifted actors that portray fictional characters whose defense when charged with rape runs along these lines:

  •  “She seduced me.”
  •  “She wanted it.”
  •  “She enjoyed it.”

Really?

At what point does rape become a pleasurable experience for the victim?

And whom among us are not revolted and angered by such nonsense?

And whom among us are willing to believe that if we “Just lay back and don’t fight it you will inevitably enjoy it.”?

And the “IT” that I am referring to here is “Obamacare”.

The Obama Regime is encouraging people to become the evangelists for Obamacare in their own family and social groups over Thanks Giving dinner. Their message is truly quite simple: Lie back and quit fighting and eventually you will enjoy the experience.

I won’t belabor you with the horrendously offensive aspects of this Socialist doctrine. Nor can I predict the level of socially unacceptable behavior that might erupt should some fool attempt to do that in my home much less over Thanks Giving dinner (ALL of which I personally prepare from scratch ).

But I will encourage you to think about your own families and extended families and decide for yourself if there is a point at which this rape experience could possibly become enjoyable;  rape of our free will, rape of our religious convictions, rape of free markets, rape of our Constitution, a brutal rape of the American Dream and personal freedoms.
 

New DC Circuit Decision Shows Why GOP Wants to Block New Judges

With starkly political language, the DC Circuit rules that the ACA's contraception coverage provision violates business owners' religious liberty.
PFAW

Concerned Women for America Tries to Discourage Young People From Getting Health Insurance

Much of the success of the Affordable Care Act depends on enough young, healthy people signing up for health care coverage to offset the cost for insurance companies of covering a larger pool of older and less healthy people. That’s why ACA’s supporters are investing a lot of time and energy in signing these “young invincibles” up for coverage….and why the law’s opponents are determined to discourage young people from acquiring health insurance plans. (See the ridiculous, more than a little ironic, ad by the Koch-backed Generation Opportunity showing a scary Uncle Sam delivering a gynecological exam.)

Concerned Women for America is now joining other right-wing groups in trying to discourage young people from signing up for insurance on the ACA’s exchanges. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday, CWA spokeswoman Alison Howard said healthy young people shouldn’t be called “young invincibles” but “young subsidizers” and insisted “they’re not buying in to having to subsidize a government-run program that’s a complete fail.”

Howard urged listeners to "continue to pray for our nation's leaders, that they have wisdom and clarity of how to fix this very broken problem and help us completely heal as a country."

Fischer Claims Obama Will Use Future Shutdowns To Withhold Health Care From All But The Young and Loyal

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, who last week claimed that President Obama wants to arrest veterans attempting to visit memorials during the government shutdown and “haul them off to jail,” is now warning that the Obama administration will use the Affordable Care Act to curtail health care services during future shutdowns.

On his radio show yesterday, Fischer read enthusiastically from a Rightwing News blog post that claims that the administration will withhold health care from all but “those who are young enough, correct enough or wealthy and powerful enough”:

And so it goes from nudge, to shove and very soon, to shoot. Surely Americans now see they are living under the iron fist of a dictator. They are using lands and monuments that belong to America against us – held hostage as wards of the State, not property of the free. What makes Americans think that with the government in control of healthcare that they won’t use the same tactics? Comply or no antibiotics for you… submit or no chemotherapy… kneel or no transplant. And even then, only those who we deem young enough, correct enough or wealthy and powerful enough will receive the benefits of the all-controlling Marxist State. America has become Russia’s protege thanks to the enemies within.

“If you’ve got a government that with a phone call can shut down a war memorial, can send orders to police to lock people up that go there, that can issue $100 fines for jogging in a national park, what makes us think they can be trusted with our health care?” Fischer said. “If they can do that to Americans when it comes to access to national parks, what are they going to do when we’re talking about access to health care?”
 

On Women’s Equality Day, Activists Recommit To Stand With Wisconsin Women at Noon Rally

To celebrate the 93rd Anniversary Women’s Equality Day on Monday, People For members joined hundreds of progressive allies on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison for the “Stand With Wisconsin Women” Rally.  The event opened with a song from the Solidarity Singalong participants, and featured Wisconsin women, activists, and legislators speaking out against the Wisconsin GOP’s war against women.

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/H2M9ovQY6nM

 

(Video credit: Scott Foval / PFAW.org)

“Thanks to the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, I will no longer pay co-pays for my birth control.  As a woman I will no longer be charged simply for being a woman, and attempting to control my own reproductive life,” said Kristina Nailen.  “I am still afraid.  I am afraid that after these nine years of accumulating debt just for my bachelors, graduating this year with 83,000 in debt before interest, that I will be able to manage my own health care and make my loan repayments.”

Nailen called on Governor Walker and the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature to reverse their decision to cut the BadgerCare program, and immediately restore health care funding and provide access to more than 100,000 Wisconsin women who count on the program for their health care coverage.

The rally also featured a roster of activists, leaders, and legislators calling for equal pay for women,  for paid family leave legislation, and endorsing the return of legislation promoting common sense, true equality, and fairness for all citizens; including working women, low wage workers, same-sex couples, disabled persons, and immigrants.  Following the rally participants entered the Wisconsin capitol building to lobby Governor Walker and members of the Wisconsin legislature, demanding they refocus on creating well-paying jobs, and stop enacting anti-woman measures as distractions from economically-focused legislation.

PFAW

Circuit Court Rejects Attack on Contraception Coverage

The 10th Circuit rejects the argument that an employer's religious liberty is substantially burdened by the contraception coverage requirement.
PFAW Foundation

Far Right Poised to Reverse a Century of Progress with Romney's Court

Far right scholars are eager for a Romney victory, because his Supreme Court would turn their cramped vision of the Constitution into reality.
PFAW

Obama Talks About the Supreme Court

The president discusses the consequences if the next Supreme Court justices are chosen by Mitt Romney.
PFAW

Don’t Forget Who John Roberts Is

Add this to the good news/bad news mix from the Supreme Court's healthcare decision: Because of the good news (Chief Justice Roberts voted to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act), we get the bad news that his standing among the nation's Democrats has significantly increased. This collective amnesia about who John Roberts is and what he has done is disturbing, especially since the direction of the Court is one of the most important issues upon which Democrats should be voting in November.

A new Gallup Poll shows wild fluctuations in Democrats and Republicans' assessment of Chief Justice John Roberts since their last poll in 2005, a change Gallup attributes to his role in upholding the Affordable Care Act. Roberts' approval rating among Republicans has plummeted 40 percentage points from 2005, falling from 67% to 27%. In contrast, his favorability among Democrats has risen from 35% to 54%. That the healthcare decision is a catalyst of this change is supported by a PEW Research Center poll last week showing that between April and July, approval of the Supreme Court dropped 18 points among Republicans and rose 12% among Democrats.

Yes, John Roberts upheld the ACA, but only as a tax. At the same time, he agreed with his four far right compatriots that it fell outside the authority granted Congress by the Commerce Clause, leaving many observers concerned that he has set traps designed to let the Court later strike down congressional legislation that should in no way be considered constitutionally suspect. He also joined the majority that restricted Congress's constitutional authority under the Spending Clause to define the contours of state programs financed with federal funds.

Just as importantly, Roberts's upholding the ACA does not erase the past seven years, during which he has repeatedly been part of thin conservative majority decisions bending the law beyond recognition in order to achieve a right wing political result. John Roberts cast the deciding vote in a number of disastrous decisions, including those that:

Oh, and then there's that little 5-4 Citizens United opinion that has upended our nation's electoral system and put our government up to sale to the highest bidder.

With a rap sheet like that – and this is hardly a complete a list – no one should be under the illusion that John Roberts is anything but a right-wing ideologue using the Supreme Court to cement his favorite right-wing policies into law.

Next term, Roberts is expected to lead the judicial front of the Republican Party's war against affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. Whether he succeeds may depend on whether it is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama who fills the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.

PFAW

A Few Thoughts About the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision

Progressives shouldn’t be afraid to celebrate today’s ruling, but no one should forget that our Court has lurched dangerously to the right.
PFAW

PFAW Statement on SCOTUS Obamacare Ruling

In a 5 to 4 decision released today, the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act legislation, enacted by Congress in 2010 to address rising healthcare costs and reduce the number of Americans without health insurance.

People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Today’s decision is an important win for the American people. The Court recognized that our Constitution gives Congress the authority to address the challenges that face our nation—and that Congress acted appropriately by using its power to address the crisis in our health care system.

“What’s shocking about this decision is that it isn’t unanimous. By any reasonable standard, the constitutionality of Obamacare is not a close question. Ultra-conservative ideologues have been remarkably successful in pushing the Court far, far to the right and in using the Court to advance their political ideology. If the right-wing Justices on this Court want to write our laws, they should run for Congress; if they’d rather remain on the bench, they should do their own jobs, not someone else’s.

“Today’s close call will make the Supreme Court a major issue for progressives and independents. Mitt Romney’s decision to appoint Robert Bork as his chief advisor on judicial nominations makes it clear that he’s interested in stacking the Court with more of the kind of Justices who wanted to scrap protections for children and people with preexisting conditions. Voters will remember this decision when they go to the polls in November.”

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Stripped of Dignity by the Roberts Court

The Supreme Court's five conservatives allow degrading strip searches of people arrested for minor infractions.
PFAW Foundation

RNC Figures Out the Best Way to Attack Obamacare: Lie

Yesterday, the Republican National Committee released a web ad featuring the voice of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli haltingly defending the Affordable Care Act. After saying that “For more than 80 percent of Americans, the, ah, insurance system does provide effective access,” Verrilli trails off, coughing and stuttering for an incredibly long time.

But as Bloomberg News revealed, the awkward silence isn’t credible. It’s entirely doctored. In the actual audio of the case, Verrilli pauses only briefly before continuing “But for more than 40 million who do not have access to health insurance, either through their employer or through government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, the system does not work.

Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog calls it “the single most classless and misleading thing I’ve ever seen related to the Court,” and he’s right.  But it shouldn’t come as any surprise that this is the tack taken by the GOP. From day one, Republicans decided that the best way to oppose President Obama’s health care reform agenda was by lying about it. Whether it’s about death panels, rationed care or the Solicitor General’ performance before the Supreme Court, Republicans have made clear that there’s no lie they won’t tell in order to damage the president and frustrate his agenda.

After the Citizens United decision, we’ve seen outside groups pushing sleazy “Swift Boat” style attack ads. The fact that the RNC itself chose to push such a blatant lie only underscores how comfortable with dishonesty--and how desperate--the party has become.

Republican leaders, including presidential contenders who hope to lead the party, should renounce these dishonest attacks.

PFAW

Sekulow Feigns Outrage at Challenge to Conservative Justices

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin went on Fox News last night to discuss the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act with Sean Hannity and the American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Raskin didn’t get much time to make his case before he was hit with a wave of faux outrage from Sekulow and Hannity.

The subject of the outrage? Sen. Raskin had called some of the conservative justices’ questions “weak” – which somehow for Sekulow turned into “attacking the integrity of justices of the United States.”

The conversation starts about five minutes into this clip:

Sekulow’s attempt at outrage is rather stunning, since his organization, the ACLJ, exists in a large part to rail against the motivations – or, if you will, the “integrity” -- of judges and justices with whom he disagrees. When the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of marriage equality, he slammed it as “another example of an activist judiciary that overreached.” When the Senate was considering then-appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor for her seat on the Supreme Court, Sekulow said, "To call her a judicial activist is an insult to judicial activists."

Sekulow has every right to criticize justices and judges with whom he disagrees. But he doesn’t exactly have the high ground for slamming those who offer mild criticism of questions conservative justices ask in oral arguments.

For more on Jamie Raskin’s analysis of the health care case, read his piece in the Huffington Post yesterday.

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PFAW

PFAW’s Jamie Raskin Discusses Health Care Arguments on MSNBC

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin joined Ed Schultz to discuss the much-watched Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
PFAW
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